By Jodie Lynn
Our five-year-old has been selected for the gifted program at school and will be attending sessions for pre-math skills this summer. How can we prepare him better to fit into the normal classes beginning in the fall?
ANSWER FROM READER:
We had two children who went through the gifted program and the only time we encountered a challenge was when there was some type of internal conflict between those inside and outside the program. We tried different things among ourselves before actually having to talk with the principal or school staff, which worked most of the time. However, in hindsight, we do not think we should have been quite so reserved in speaking up about our concerns. Talk to whomever you need to straight away if things do not flow the way you feel is the best for your son.
- K. R. in Norfolk, VA
Since you are asking for suggestions on how to better prepare him for normal classes, it sounds like he will be attending a gifted program for only a part of each week. Therefore, even though he is only five, meshing the two class environments can be a little tricky, especially if the regular classroom teacher does not have a clear understanding of your son's needs. First, be sure that you have a well-grasped idea of the program and the teaching style of the gifted teacher. Go in and have a chat with the teacher before school begins. Next, once you find out for sure which teacher will be your son's regular class instructor, ask if the individual has had experience with other students in previous years that have been in the same or similar situations as your son. If he or she has experience with this, then you can breathe a sigh of relief and just sit tight and monitor how the year turns out. If not, you might ask the principal for suggestions on the best way to introduce the gifted program to the teacher. For example, it might behoove everyone involved if the gifted teacher talked with the other teacher to help explain what will be taking place on the days your son is in the gifted classroom. If the two of them can be on the same page, to speak and be better prepared for the other's teaching style and curriculum, then a system can be put into place to help your son transition from one setting to the other without anxiety, stress or frustration. At age five, this should be able to be managed quite easily and can be an asset for your son and the rest of your family if everyone is working together to enhance this wonderful opportunity.
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